FRANCE'S PRESIDENTIAL election was the result of mass disillusionment with five years of government by the Socialist Party and its coalition allies, the Greens and the Communists. The vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen was terrible, with just over four and a half million people backing the Nazi leader. But it was almost exactly the same vote Le Pen got in the last presidential election in 1995.
THE POOR of Venezuela defeated an attempted coup against the country's president, Hugo Chavez, last weekend. The attempt to remove Chavez was the work of the head of the employers' organisation, with the connivance of army generals, the head of the Catholic church, and even a corrupt trade union leader.
One lasting memory of last July's massive protests at the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, was the sheer number of supporters of Rifondazione Comunista, the Refounded Communist Party. After the police killing of Carlo Guiliani the party's general secretary, Fausto Bertinotti, issued an appeal for every party member to get to the city to join the protest. Tens of thousands responded.
WITH BREATHTAKING gall, George W Bush last week declared that the election in Zimbabwe was a "flawed process". He added, "We do not recognise the outcome of this election." Only a man as stupid and arrogant as Bush could criticise the vote a year after he stole the US presidential election.
The only certainty about politics in Zimbabwe is that there is a stormy time ahead. Socialist Worker went to press before any voting figures had been announced for the presidential election. Whatever result is finally announced will be hotly contested by the losing side.
The racist far right has made a frightening breakthrough in local elections in Holland. Supporters of Pim Fortuyn, who put forward anti-immigration policies, took a third of the vote in the country's second city, Rotterdam.
Zimbabweans will vote for a president on Saturday and Sunday. They face a choice between Robert Mugabe's brutal regime and the Movement for Democratic Change's Morgan Tsvangirai. The MDC contains good trade unionists and socialists, but is dominated by businessmen and white landowners.
Half a million Italians demonstrated in Rome last Saturday against the right wing government of millionaire businessman Silvio Berlusconi. The demonstration was organised by the Democratic Left party and its allies in the Olive Tree coalition. The Democratic Left is a part of the old Communist Party that adopted policies similar to the British Labour Party.
A top Colombian general resigned last week, along with several other senior military officers. It was the clearest sign yet that the war launched by the US-backed regime against rebel forces is not going to plan.
The Indian government, which Tony Blair praised recently, has stood by while a section of its supporters carry out horrific massacres. Hundreds of people have been killed in communal violence centred on the Gujarat region.
A major battle against privatisation in South Korea was continuing this week after rail workers won major concessions and the government threatened a crackdown on striking power workers.
Colombia's government has plunged the country into full-scale civil war. The US backs this brutal and bloody policy. Andreas Pastrana, president of the South American country, broke off peace talks with the powerful FARC guerrilla group on Wednesday of last week.
The Hindu fundamentalist BJP party did badly in three key state elections last weekend. The very good news is that the BJP's attempt to whip up chauvinism over Kashmir has failed to deliver votes.
Zimbabwe's security forces have continued their attacks on opposition candidates ahead of the presidential election scheduled for 9 and 10 March. The police fired shots at a convoy carrying opposition leaders to a rally. Five people were injured when government backed activists attacked the offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the town of KweKwe.
Protests continued in Argentina last week. These events mark the second month since the uprising which overthrew two governments. They did so as the International Monetary Fund refused to give aid to Argentina. The IMF claims the new budget proposed by the government of Eduardo Duhalde was not hard enough.
A wave of strikes hit South Korea at the start of this week, just days after US president George W Bush faced anti-war protests during his official visit to the country last week.
EUROPEAN UNION (EU) leaders imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe this week and withdrew election observers. Nobody should believe the EU is a friend of democracy in Africa or anywhere else. The EU says it is outraged by President Mugabe's refusal to allow monitors in to watch over the presidential election scheduled for 9-10 March.
As Tony Blair met right wing Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to discuss "flexible labour markets" and "economic liberalisation", a wave of workers' revolt was sweeping the country. Berlusconi, said there had been an "absolute convergence of views" between him and Blair.
Huge street protests and a two-week general strike have shut banks and businesses in many parts of Madagascar.
A new wave of agitation has swept Argentina. It comes after the conversion of all bank accounts from dollars to the national currency, the peso, two weeks ago. Friday of last week saw demonstrations right across the country, with unemployed people looting supermarkets in the Cordoba province for food.